Legal Education

Online Law School Amps Up with Merger

The nation’s first Internet law school has upped the ante, merging with another online institution owned by the same parent company.

Now Concord Law School is officially part of Kaplan University, which will allow both institutions to cooperate on joint program offerings, Kaplan Higher Education Corp. announced in a press release today. Perhaps most important right now, though, is the financial impact on students of the merger, writes the Career College Central blog.

As the Chronicle of Higher Education (sub. req.) also notes, “Concord students will be eligible for Title IV student financial aid for the first time, including federal student loans and grants.” Joining forces with Kaplan, too, “brings Concord under the roof of a regionally accredited institution, which is considered more mainstream than the national accreditation Concord already had,” the article continues.

In the long run, it appears that the biggest impact of the merger could be to make Concord more of a standard-issue educational institution. As discussed in an ABA Journal article about the innovative institution’s first graduating class, most Concord graduates can’t take the bar exam, except in California, because the law school isn’t ABA accredited. However, it seems likely that Concord’s merger with 27,000-student Kaplan has the potential to allow the 1,500-student law school to establish a bigger brick-and-mortar footprint that could provide a basis for accreditation.

Right now, Concord has only an office in Los Angeles. But Davenport, Iowa-based Kaplan has 4,000 “on-ground” students at eight campuses in Iowa and Nebraska.

Concord will now be known as Concord Law School of Kaplan University. The company that owns them is a subsidiary of the Washington Post Co.

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